CHICAGO – Gov. Pat Quinn will use his amendatory veto powers to rewrite legislation allowing people to carry concealed weapons in the state, possibly setting up an attempt by lawmakers who helped craft a compromise to override his changes, the bill's sponsor said late Monday.
State Rep. Brandon Phelps, a Harrisburg Democrat, said the governor's office told him Quinn would sign an amended bill Tuesday – seven days before a July 9 deadline to legalize carry of weapons after a federal appeals court found Illinois' last-in-the-nation ban unconstitutional – but would not tell him what would be changed.
The measure requires the same handgun-toting rules statewide. Quinn had advocated allowing larger cities to adopt their own restrictions in the name of "local control."
But the governor has given few hints about what he'll do, even after lawmakers asked him to make a decision quickly to they can plan next steps.
Quinn spokeswoman Brooke Anderson declined Monday to give details about Quinn's decision, saying only that "the governor will act in the interest of public safety."
Phelps says he will be upset if Quinn amends the bill, which he said was the result of a hard-won compromise, and probably would file a motion to override it. He said changing it to allow cities to have different rules "would lead to all kinds of lawsuits."
"We've got a compromise with (Chicago), both sides of aisle and both chambers," Phelps said. "He's playing politics with this over public safety."
Almost two dozen Illinois Democrats recently sent Quinn a letter urging him to act quickly on the legislation so they could avert a "public safety and constitutional crisis" as they tried to meet the deadline.
Authorities in several Illinois counties already are refusing to prosecute those who carry concealed weapons, and some counties are setting up their own rules to allow public possession of concealed firearms because the existing law has been invalidated, even if it's still on the books.
The legislation allows anyone who has a Firearm Owner's Identification card to get a concealed carry permit after passing a background check, undergoing 16 hours of training — the most in the nation — and paying a $150 fee. Law enforcement agencies may object to an application by alerting a review board appointed by the governor.
Associated Press writer Sophia Tareen contributed to this report.
The bill is HB183